When the Christmas-tide drew nigh,
On a shelf three candles bright,
Two were red and one was white,
Waited for who came to buy.
Said the first one, "I shall be
Chosen for a Christmas-tree!"
Said the second, "I shall light
Christ Jesus on His way to-night!"
Then the third one sighed, "Ah me,
I know not what my lot will be!"
When the dark fell, bright and gay
The first candle burned away,
Red as all the berries red
On the holly overhead,
While the children in their glee
Danced around the Christmas-tree.
And the second, twinkling bright,
Poured forth all its golden light
Through a window decked with green
Garlands and red ribbons' sheen,
So the Christ-child when He came
Might be guided by its flame.
But the third one in the gloom
Of a bare and cheerless room
Softly burned where long had lain
A poor little child in pain,
And the baby in its bed
By the light was comforted.
When the Christ-child passed that night
All three candles gave Him light,
But the brightest was the spark
By the baby in the dark.